When the pandemic started over a year ago, many companies asked their employees to work from home to prevent the spread of the virus. The remote work arrangement was beneficial for both the employees and the companies since it allows both parties to save on expenses.
The arrangement also allowed companies to retain their employees who have become accustomed to working from home. Their cozy work arrangements also allowed the employees to relax since they felt safe in the comfort of their homes. But there may be instances when they get hurt even while working at home.
In these instances, the employee may ask if he can receive compensation. Similarly, with the relaxation of some restrictions, the company may require its employees to travel to the office from time to time. In these instances, would they need to get the assistance of a car accident attorney if they get into an accident while on the road?
Work-Related Risks Exist at Home
One thing that companies should be aware of is that work-related accidents can happen even if the employees are working from home. While home offices do not normally pose as much risk as a regular workplace environment, there is still a risk for injuries at home.
In these situations, employees are still legally entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits as employees working in the office. Even though companies have no control over the workspace of their home-based employees, they should still report any workplace injuries to their insurance carriers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires companies to ensure that the workplace is free of hazards and complies with the OSHA Act workplace standards.
The OSHA does not limit the requirement to the traditional office environment, which means the rule applies to home office environments. Among the main causes of injuries in a traditional office environment involves repetitive movements that result in strains and stress, slips, falls, and trips. The same injuries can also happen when the employee is working from home.
Circumstances Surrounding the Injury
The circumstances surrounding the injury determine whether an employee receives the workers’ compensation benefits. These circumstances include whether the employee was working on behalf of the company when he got injured. For instance, falling down the stairs may happen while the employee is doing regular household chores. But if the fall happened when the employee was carrying work files to the home desk of the employee, the employee may be entitled to the benefits.
Similarly, if the employer approved an action that resulted in the injury. Similar to the employee getting involved in an accident while commuting from his home office to the workplace to retrieve files that the company required him to get.
Workers’ Compensation for Remote Work Arrangements
When it comes to getting workers’ compensation benefits while working from home, a licensed insurance adjuster must determine if the injury happened while the employee was performing a task for the company or it was related to his job. The employee needs to prove that the injury happened while he was doing a task for the company.
Aside from investigating the circumstances surrounding the injury, the adjuster will also look into where the injury happened. He will check if it happened in the office or the home of the employee. He will also check the areas close to the location where the accident happened. The insurance adjuster will also look at the exact location of the accident.
He will check if it happened while the employee was at home or was outside the house. He will also check if the employee was driving or was sitting behind his desk. The adjuster will use the information he collects in determining the compensation that the employee will receive.
Protecting Employees from Injuries
To ensure their employees are safe from injuries while working from home, companies should provide their employees with instructions on setting up their workstations. They should ask their employees if they have an area that’s suitable for working.
These companies can provide a good desk and chair that ensures the employees maintain proper posture while working. Companies should provide ergonomic workstations for their employees to prevent injuries.
Encouraging the employees to get up and stretch every so often is also helpful in preventing injuries among the employees. The companies should also remind their employees to focus on their work during work hours. They should avoid doing other things, such as house chores, since these activities can cause them to slip and fall, resulting in injuries.
Even as companies aim to protect their employees from injuries, they should also ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve if they get injured while working at home.